2014 has been a year of change for me. I’ll get to the writing stuff — the substance of this post — in a tick, but first I have to acknowledge the huge impact of moving house and all the stuff that went on around it. From finding the house (four months of haunting real estate sites) to moving, to finding renovations were required (far more work than guessed). This was a year when a lot of my energy vanished into a black hole labelled “house”.
But I still managed to get some writing done — and a lot of thinking about writing.
Chatting with writer friends both online and over coffee has been hugely helpful. They’ve contributed an unquantifiable amount to what one called a “paradigm shift” — and she was right. It was a significant disruption in my thinking, and in my sense of purpose.
Without in anyway losing my identity as an author, in 2014 I added the notion that I’m also running a small business. My product is the books I write. Then there’s the question of how I get them to readers.
In the last few months, I’ve ventured into self-publishing. You’ll have noticed that it’s created a fascination with Amazon, Amazon’s algorithms and the changes book-subscription services are likely to have — driving down the price of books. Self-publishing provides authors with data. This is game-changing. You can extract data on when your books are selling and correlate with promotional activities.
Speaking of which, I’m beginning to take my social media activities more seriously. I’m still at the point of roaming around and thinking about things, but the thinking is more refined. I’m looking at data from places like Twitter Analytics and realising that few if any of my promotional tweets lead directly to sales … and yet, sales go up when I spend time promoting on Twitter. Could this be the notion that selling something requires the customer to see the item seven times? If so, then maybe books aren’t immediate impulse buys.
I’m still traditionally published, with three short stories coming out with Escape Publishing in February, March and April next year. They’re all contemporary romance.
One thing I’ve thrown away this year is the pressure I felt to focus on a single subgenre of romance. So I’m happily continuing to write contemporary romance — you’re going to love my Valentine’s Day romance (but that’s another post) — and returning to Steampunk (love, love, love re-writing history), and indulging in paranormal romance (of which I read lots). What will that do to my brand? Make it shine!
Ilona Andrews made a great point the other day. She was discussing author branding and she said that the promise you make readers isn’t the particular subgenre you’ll write in, but the “emotional experience” you’ll deliver.
So I’m thinking (always with the thinking) about the emotional experience my varied stories deliver.
2014 was also the year I decided to commit to a weekly themed post here at this blog. Since discovering my tagline (it only took four years), “A Hopeful Romantic”, I’m pleased that my weekly post expresses that theme of hope and the power it has to change our lives. Flower Fortunes aren’t quite predictions. Let’s call them inspirations 🙂
The downside of being so busy is that I read less books than usual this year. A lot of what reading time I did have was spent re-reading old favourites.
So that was 2014. A year of change, reflection and new beginnings.
I’ll be sharing my publishing schedule for 2015 soon. Watch out for The Icarus Plot, a steampunk adventure in Victorian London’s crowded East End, which releases on January 3 and will be free that day, and that day only!